Archive for the ‘science’ Category

Truth Cannot Exist Without God

May 20, 2019

I am not a trained philosopher, but thinking on Descartes’ ideas and why he is labeled as one of the founders of modern science has lead me to the following ideas.

  1. We cannot trust our senses. They do not tell us truth, only what they are sensing.
  2. The only thing we can know for sure is that we exist independently as a thinking entity. (“I think, therefore I am” in his words.)
  3. If we are to find truth, we must have a breadcrumb trail we can follow that will lead us to it. Otherwise, we are left to error on our own. Descartes puts this idea forward that there are demons that are out to deceive us. (This makes a lot of sense in his worldview, which was shaped by the teachings of Catholicism. It doesn’t make much sense to us who think that demons and angels and God are fairy tales.) I rephrase this for our generation as stating that it’s incredibly clear that people are stupid, and since we are all people, that means we are stupid too. If we ever have any hope of finding any truth, then somewhere there must be something we can follow to find that truth.
  4. At this point, I am going to provide some alternatives. There are 3 conditions we might exist in, and only one leads to the possibility of finding truth. You get to choose which reality you want to live in, but only one reality allows the possibility that you will ever find truth.
    1. There is no God of Truth. That is, there is no supremely intelligent being who not only knows the truth but can show us the truth.
    2. There is a God of Truth, but he hasn’t provided us a way to identify him. This case is similar to 1 because without a way to perceive him, he might as well not exist.
    3. There is a God of Truth, and he has provided us a way to identify him and his truth. This is the only scenario in which we have any hope of identifying truth.
  5. If we choose to live in the reality where truth exists, and there is a God who possesses it, and he has provided us a way to identify him and the truth, then we can proceed with modern science. IE, God created the universe as a reflection of himself, the universe cannot lie or deceive us, so we must interrogate the universe to understand it, hence we can do science and experiment. Note that we are still subject to being wrong as the other person, but there is always a way to identify error and free ourselves from it.

As I grow older, I see the value in accepting the reality of God. I don’t demand that you believe that he exists, I just demand that you accept it. Assume it to be so, whether or not you can cause yourself to have any sort of religious sentiment about it. Assuming God does exist, then you must assume certain aspects of his nature, such as his ability to communicate pure truth. If you accept these two premises, then the universe is open to you, things that can be learned through a study of it and things that cannot be learned through a study of it.

A lot of the objections that atheists raise against a belief in God are simply logical fallacies with fancy clothing. Which God should you believe in? The True and Living God, as opposed to false and dead ones. How can you find God? The same way everyone who has found God reported doing so. What about the Bible? I think my Christian brethren in this day and age worship the Bible over God sometimes, so I’d like to point out that it is just a book, a book with pages and words, sometimes poorly translated, but it is definitely “good enough” to get you started in the right path.

The key messages of the Bible that I find, that should give hope to any atheist:

  1. Seek, ask, knock. The promise is you will find it, your question will be answered, and doors will be opened.
  2. You can always pray. Sinner and saints can access God through Christ.
  3. God doesn’t love us because we’re righteous. He loves us just because, and he has sent his Son to demonstrate that love. He has promised not just to redeem Israel but the entire world, despite our rejection of Him who is mighty to save.
  4. The only real choice you have in this world is whether to live as a proud and flawed person, or to embrace the atonement of Christ by repenting each day and trying to do better. We receive covenants such as baptism not because we know we will be able to keep them, but because we know that we don’t have to — we do it because God told us to, and he told us we can always repent so we’re confident if we screw it all up (which we will) we can always come back.

My favorite parable is of the piano student. The piano student will never play the piano perfectly in this life. There is always some ultimate ideal they compare themselves to and they always fall short. The only way to improve is to keep practicing, and every time you practice you are going to make mistakes. Making mistakes is bad and leads to horrible music that no one wants to listen to — this is the same as sin. We are all practicing to play the piano, we are all making mistakes, and it doesn’t matter, ultimately, as long as we keep practicing and keep trying something new and different and better. That is all we can do. We can try, fail, repent, and then try again. This is what God gave us for our lives here on earth.

LDS Doctrine and Evolution

September 8, 2016

I want to speak for my perspective on the Theory of Evolution and the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am not a spokesman for the church. I don’t pretend that this is an official pronouncement of the official stance of the church. I am stating my perception of the official stance.

If you want the official stance, you can go visit http://lds.org/ and look it up for yourself. My summary is that it doesn’t matter. Believe what you want.

Let me tell you the few things that are important and that we do teach and that do matter.

There is a God. God created Man. Adam as the first man. All living humans on planet earth are descendants of Adam.

That’s pretty much it.

There is nothing about how God created Man. We have in front of us 3 accounts in the books of Genesis, Moses, and Abraham (the latter two are in the Pearl of Great Price.) If you are an endowed member, you get a 4th account in the temple endowment ceremony. (Feel free to attend often and memorize what is said.) But in none of these accounts are any scientific statements made that we can test. I can think of ten thousand ways that each of the statements can conform to what we observe in nature.

I believe our generation is in the dark in this topic. This is partly due to the fact that we aren’t ready for the truth, and partly due to the fact that if we knew, the Plan of Salvation might be spoiled.

Why might we not be ready for the truth? One of the doctrines we teach is that God judges us based on what we know. If we are ignorant of a law, we can’t be expected to obey it. And so, if we are ignorant of the creation (which we are), we can’t be expected to believe it, and disbelief cannot be counted as a sin. Perhaps God has the truth ready to give us, but because so few of us would accept it, he doesn’t give it to use for fear of our rejection of it. I have found this to be universally the case. God gives us knowledge line upon line, precept upon precept. He gives us a little, expects us to conform, and then gives us some more, bit by bit. Within the church, each member is given a certain amount of knowledge which they are required to live by. This knowledge comes directly from God through the Spirit, so it’s not like President Monson has any say in who gets what. So if we’re not ready to accept it, he probably won’t give it to us, because he doesn’t want to force us into a position where we would be disobedient and rebellious.

I don’t know why we might not be ready. I will tell you this: The subject of science is so horribly political and vindictive that there are entire branches of science I treat with similar contempt to witchcraft. Maybe the political pressure and retaliation would be more than the church and its members could bear. I don’t know. It’s just a possibility.

Why would revealing the truth spoil the plan of salvation? I’ve answered part of this with the previous answer, but let me elaborate on a separate point. The point of earth-life is not to make good choices and show God how righteous you are.

On the one hand, we really can’t do anything well. We can’t even understand what it would mean to be good. Case in point: There are a lot of things God and Christ did in the past that we still question and think to be morally questionable. In short, we are literally incapable of being good. But suppose we were good. If we ever do anything right, God rewards us, often with much more than we deserve. And so we would end up in greater debt even if we did well.

These two points combined point to the fact that if you intend to impress God with your righteousness, you’re going to be very disappointed.

The point of earth-life, as God has repeatedly explained in scriptures and through the living prophets and apostles, is to live by faith. Faith is a key principle in LDS theology that is at the heart of everything we are and do. To us, faith is belief plus action. Or rather, action according to correct beliefs. When we hear something, we can choose to reject it or believe it. If we believe it, that is not enough. We must act according to it.

Faith in what? Faith in Jesus Christ. That is the real test: Will you live by faith in Jesus Christ?

If God were to give all the answers, and show the world what Jesus Christ has done, is doing, and will do for the world, then there would be no more need of faith. We would know that Christ has our best interests at heart, and we would happily comply with everything he asks us to do. It’s only because there are great big question marks surrounding who Christ really is and what he has done and is doing and will do that we get to test our faith.

So that’s the bottom line. The church doesn’t have “no position” on evolution, they just say, “You can believe what you like.” The scriptures don’t give us anything to run on scientifically, thus, no one can say they “know” how the world was created or where the animals and humans came from.

That said, when I look at nature, when I honestly evaluate the evidence before me, I conclude that not only was the world created by miraculous means, but there was a world-wide flood (evidence is literally everywhere!) and that it’s clear the Theory of Evolution is pseudo-science. Now, I can’t explain how God did it or what processes he used, but I can tell you what processes he didn’t use.

If you disagree with me, I’m okay with that and I’m happy to welcome you as a member of the church. We can have discussions, either theological or scientific, about this topic, and I would be more than happy to have you over for dinner to do so, time permitting.

One day, God will tell us everything, and it will all make sense. That day isn’t today, and we’re never going to get the full truth through scientific inquiry. But science is a lot of fun, and it’s useful, and I prefer we do more of it, not less.

Overfitting

July 21, 2016

This will be a fairly technical post, but it shouldn’t be too bad.

I’m currently working at a job where we do a ton of machine learning. Machine learning is basically do statistics with a lot of computers. There’s really no magic there, despite warnings from people with a lot of money and brainpower.

Machine learning is really a set of tricks that we’ve learned to solve a particularly hard kind of problem. The problem is summarized here.

  • Go get a bunch of data.
  • Look at the data really, really hard.
  • Try to figure out what the data is telling you about how the universe works.

This is pretty much a summary of every scientific discipline ever.

Note that the “try to figure out” part is often expressed in different ways, the other two common forms being: “make a prediction that is accurate” or “decide what we should do differently to get different results.” Both of these are just restatements of the problem of figuring out what the data tells you about the universe.

Now, there are a number of ways people go wrong when they do this kind of thing. I won’t bore you with all the tiny details of how to even begin to understand what you are looking at and how to make sense of it.

One common problem is called “overfitting”. The way it manifests itself is you propose a theory about the data that explains the data really, really well. In fact, remarkably well. But then, when you try out the idea in reality, it is horrible.

In order to understand this, imagine a scatterplot of data points. You want to predict what value you should get depending on where you’re at along the X-axis. What you could do is just draw lines connecting all the point together. This graph will accurately predict every value you’ve seen in the data, but it will not be a very good predictor of how reality behaves (in the vast majority of cases.)

In physics, we sometimes do the same things. We have common patterns we follow to try and avoid this. One of the patterns is “Don’t look at the data before making your theories.” That is, try to make your theories out of previous theories and new assumptions. This is like trying to hit a bullseye wearing a blindfold. The problem with this method is it is very inefficient, and there is only so many ideas we can come up with. However, when you do find that needle in the haystack, the theory that does a good job at matching the data, then we think we’re pretty close to reality. The best part is we know how that theory was put together, and we can think about it and reason about it.

This is what Newton did. Or really, it would’ve been what he did except he was familiar with the data, and he was looking for a reason why things moved the way they did. So really, it didn’t work that way in practice. And it never does. Theoretical physicists do look at data. They get inspired by it.

The issue is when you look at the data, and you see shapes, you propose math that explains those shapes, and then you try to figure out what it all means. The truth is that there are a lot of shapes that will fit that data. Some of them are worse than others. And you really have no way of knowing that the shape that fits best is really the shape that represents reality. True, the more points of data you have, the more certain you are about that shape being the right shape, but you can never reach a point where you can say “This is the only shape that works well.” It gets even worse when you consider the fact that the data you have collected is not and never can be 100% accurate.

What does this have to do with conservatism?

Conservatism is one of those “inside out” philosophies on par with Newtonian Mechanics. It is a collection of ideas, “shapes” if you will, about how the world works. Philosophers and logicians have argued about these ideas for a very long time. They’ve been around for such a long time that they aren’t new anymore.

Granted, sometimes the shapes fit the data really well, and sometimes they don’t. There are other shapes you can find that fits the data better than conservatism. That isn’t really the problem we’re trying to solve, though. Focusing on what fits the data best gets you shapes that fit the data well but don’t have much power in understanding what is really going on.

The other type of philosophy when it comes to these sorts of things are the “outside in” philosophies. In these philosophies, you look really, really hard at the data, find a really good shape that fits, and then declare that to be the ultimate truth. Then from that newly discovered ultimate truth, you make predictions and take courses of action. This seems very reasonable, but as I said earlier, it has the fundamental flaw of overfitting.

The way this philosophy pops up is in comments like, “There are poor people. We have to do something!” or “The rich make a lot of money! We have to do something!”

And if that something is aimed at changing the metric, and you make proposals based on conclusions drawn solely on the data, you’re going to get some really bad ideas. For instance, we could kill all the rich people and the poor people and that would certainly eliminate the problem of poverty and wealth disparity. Obviously, something is hopefully telling you something is fundamentally wrong with this proposal. But don’t you also feel like there is something wrong with the idea of taxing and giving money away?

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve personally seen data-driven thinking lead people astray. When I worked at Amazon, we were almost cult-like in our devotion to data, but we knew about overfitting and we tried to avoid it. This was years ago, but we used to run A/B testing on various changes to the website. We developed ideas about why people clicked on some things and not other things. Some of our ideas were pretty fantastic, and entire teams were formed to pursue them. In the end, we discovered that the data seemed to be telling us people click on new things but they really don’t like things to change very much. That’s why Amazon.com doesn’t really look very much different than it did a decade ago.

In your own life, be very careful about making decisions based on data. Be careful about overfitting. Be careful about reading too much into the data you see. Remember that the shape you think fits the data isn’t necessarily true even if it is the best shape.

If you really want to understand something, you have to develop theories in an almost clean-room environment free from data. Once those ideas are developed, then you can test them to see if they pan out. But be careful about reading the data too closely, since it can lead you astray.

Also, this is why I don’t like string theory. It’s a plain and simple case of overfitting. They literally pick and choose which versions of string theory they like based on how well it fits the data.

And this is why I don’t like political decisions being made with graphs in the background.

Why you Can’t Have Science Without God

September 7, 2012

Let me help my readers understand a critical fact: Without God, specifically the Judeo-Christian God, science would not exist.

Why God, or rather that God? Because the God of the Bible is a God of law and order. He is the one who stretched out the heavens. He is the one who gives law to all matter within the universe. There is no randomness where God’s laws apply. The apply fully and completely in every moment of time and in every corner of the universe.

This alone is not enough. Even if animals believed in such a God, they would not develop science because they can not think like God. Only man is set a little lower than the angels. We are created in the image of God. We are promised that we can become like God if we adhere to the doctrines that God teaches. This potential to become like God includes the potential to understand the laws that govern the universe. It is the Christian faith that teaches us to reach up and pluck the fruit of understanding from the tree of life, rather than accept life as an animal, without understanding.

This still, is not enough. One more core ingredient is necessary to develop science. With the above two qualities, a sort of science can emerge, but it would be a science of revelation, dependent solely upon man’s ability to understand God’s revelation. There is no judge except God, and he has only promised to judge mankind in the final judgment.

The last and final critical ingredient is the experiment. In the experiment, we try out our ideas against the universe itself. Since we believe that God ordered the universe, since we believe Man is capable of understanding those laws, and since we believe that God is no deceiver of men, then when we interrogate reality itself, we expect to get solid, reproducible answers that do not contradict what God has done.

This is, in short, the principle of faith that Christ and the prophets taught. Take what little understanding you have, and try it out. If it is good, then it will produce good. If it is not, then it will not.

Modern science simply cannot exist without these three assumptions.

Atheists like Dawkins and Bill Nye would have you believe that starting with those three assumptions makes one stupid or uneducated. I don’t know why they have this idea, except to blame it on the great deceiver of all mankind who would sift us and bring us down to his level.

Without God, what foundation of science could there be? Why should simply staring at the heavens be enough to drive someone to begin experiments with the idea that they will be reproducible, or to apply logic and reason to the universe with the idea that it should apply? Whatever reason you come up with should explain why, in all of recorded history, modern science was not invented until Christians who had rediscovered the sacred volumes of literature we call the Bible took the reigns of scientific thought in the world.

Response to Bill Nye

August 27, 2012

Bill Nye posted this recently.

If you don’t want to watch it, I don’t blame you. It’s a completely vacuous argument against creationism. His arguments are roughly:

  1. There’s too much evidence for evolution.
  2. We need your kids.

Honestly, I can form a retort to him that would look the same, using the same words, but substituting Creationism for evolution.

Let me reiterate why a God-less universe is not only illogical, but impossible.

First, you cannot disprove the existence of anything without examining all of the universe. Since we don’t have space ships or sensor arrays that can peer around corners of the galaxy and universe, we can no more disprove God than we can disprove that someone named Schmortz lives on the planet Fooble.

Second, supposing the technology, time, and energy exist, and someone actually does survey the universe. Not only can they disprove that Schmortz lives on Fooble, they could disprove that there is a God in this universe—but only a God who is confined to natural laws. We don’t believe in such a God, so such a survey would be pointless.

You can, however, prove a positive. If you sincerely want to know whether God exists, and what kind of a being he is, and what he wants you to do with your life, you can find out for yourself through sincere prayer and devotion to his commandments as found in scripture.

Which religion is true? You can investigate the claims of each until you find one that actually preaches a consistent and verifiable religion. I believe the LDS religion is such a religion,. No, I know it is. I have long ago left the realm of belief because what I have seen is enough to prove to anyone that what I know is true.

Now, the second point I want to talk about is how the universe cannot exist without God. See, God is the one that orders the elements, IE, provides the framework for the natural laws. Without him, the natural laws don’t exist. Everything is chaos and nothing would make sense. We know this because for the many millenia that man believed that God or the gods acted arbitrarily, rather than acting in accordance to universal laws that do not vary over space and time. It was this modern Christian concept of the marriage of religion and logic and the universe around us (accepting things as they are rather than as they ought to be) that lead to the foundations of modern science. Our universe simply wouldn’t be the way it is without those laws in place from the sub-atomic level to the inter-galactic level.

Some would argue the anthropic principle here. The universe exists, we exist, and therefore, the universe must be governed by laws and parameters that allow us to exist. The weakness of this argument is that it can be used to justify any explanation for the universe, if the explanation allows for the possibility of it at all. It is sort of the opposite to Occam’s Razor, a favorite theory that is often abused.

I, instead, argue that the laws must come from somewhere. There must be a reason that this universe exists of all universes, despite the improbability of it all. And that reason, that organizing and stabilizing force, is God. Can it be anything else? Luck or chance cannot explain it, or rather, if we relied on luck or chance to explain it we would be in a sorry state. IE, we would be forced to accept the anthropic principle and all the lunacy attendant to that. Instead, if we accept that there is a God that orders the universe, modern science survives intact.

This might seem like odd reasoning to many who aren’t used to reasoning. Without X, things don’t make sense. With X, things do make sense. Therefore, to preserve sense, we must assume X. Physicists have been doing this all along. Somehow, it’s acceptable to use things like Electrodynamics for X, or the General Theory of Relativity, or the Standard Model, but God? Without God, the universe doesn’t make sense. With God, it does.

Bill Nye’s final appeal is for us to sacrifice our children to meet his desires. This is a thought process that bewilders me. Why should I sacrifice my self-interests for Bill Nye’s self-interest? I am as offended as he should be if I demanded he teach his children according to what I thought was best, so that I could benefit the most.

Logic and reasoning are not the strong points in the Atheist world view. To be an Atheist, you must be what you claim your enemies are: ignorant of the universe around us.

Let me help you understand why, using evolution. In no case have I seen such a relationship between science as in geology and evolution. Geology assumes an ancient earth, not because there is evidence that supports this (which there isn’t, unless you assume all geological processes occur at a constant rate, which is absurd), but because they find so-called ancient animals in the strata they observe. On the other hand, evolutionists claim as evidence that their fossils are old that they are discovered in ancient rocks. One relies on the other, and the other on the one. Why does no one talk about this?

Bill Nye mentions radiation. I remember, growing up, how firm a foundation carbon dating was, and yet, how absurd a concept it was when you examined it in any detail. It assumes things we cannot assume. One, that at the time the animal or plant was covered, the ratio of carbon isotopes was similar as it is today. Two, that carbon, like all elements, decay at a constant rate, that is, no outside influence can change the decay rate of any substance. The former has been thoroughly debunked, so much so that carbon dating is only accurate within timescales of written human history,and that only because we have documents with dates on them. The latter is being questioned today, as two independent physicists have discovered that decay rates seem to change over time. What conclusions this has, no one knows exactly, except to say our assumptions were worth as much as the paper they were written on.

Any historical science suffers from the same critical flaw: We cannot rewind the clock to see what happened in ancient history. The “mists of time” obscure the past so thoroughly and so quickly we have a hard time figuring out when, exactly, a body was killed, and what exactly killed it, unless we have a fresh corpse. As time marches on and the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics imposes its toll, we know less and less about what happened, until we can known nothing at all, even if there was a body to begin with. There simply isn’t enough data and there isn’t enough certainty to rewind the clock more than a few years in the past, at best. Those who claim they know what happened thousands, millions, and billions of years ago are lunatic. At best, we can guess, and even then, it is likely wrong.

Bill Nye is a prophet of the pseudo-scientists Atheists wish was taught in our schools. I say, good luck imposing that religion via the power of the state on the rest of us. I would rather live in a world where people are free to choose what they believe is right and wrong, rather than a world where our ideas are constrained by the ideas of others.

Circular Reasoning in Fossil Dating?

July 13, 2012

I found this gem on Wikipedia:

The occurrence of species of animal that became extinct at ~1.5 Ma indicate the deposit is not younger than 1.5 Ma.

This isn’t science, logic, or reasoning. This is mythology. Just make up a date, pronounce species to be dead after such a date, and voila! You’ve got ancient fossils everywhere.

Science Assumes Nothing?

May 9, 2012

I often read self-proclaimed scientists who deny the existence of a god or gods write that science assume nothing. The default scientific position, they claim, is nothing. That means until they see evidence of something, they do not consider it to be real.

I don’t know where people get this idea from. Science, after all, assumes a great deal.

The first assumption science makes is that the universe is ordered and logically consistent. Where is the evidence for that? Our ancestors who lived in the world believed the most sensible explanation for things was that random gods acted randomly in their realm. Storms, floods, and earthquakes were caused by angry gods. A couple that falls in love was caused by the god of love. Crops grew because the fertility gods favored men. So on and so forth.

The first time someone assumed the universe was ordered and logically consistent was a pious fellow by the name of Socrates. Christian philosophers such as Sir Isaac Newton expanded on this and assumed that not only was the universe generally ordered, but exactly ordered, in the minutest of detail, so much so that math was a perfect description of the motions of the planets and stars, as well as apples falling from trees here on earth.

This is an assumption that is such a large leap from what you see around you that it should never be assumed lightly. When you probe into statistical mechanics (which gives us entropy) or quantum mechanics (which uncovers the wave function and its probabilistic interpretation), you see a universe that is not ordered the way Isaac Newton assumed. His assumptions of a mechanical, predictable universe were simply wrong. He was correct, however, that the universe was logically consistent and followed universal laws. At least, as far as we can determine from experiments.

Where did we get this assumption from? Who gave us this idea, before people knew it was a very good assumption? The answer lies in religion.

The next assumption is one that is not to be treated lightly. It is the assumption that the human mind is capable of not only comprehending the laws that govern the universe, but to reason about them and deduce new laws. If we look at the world around us, we see animals that behave mindlessly. At best, the most intelligent animals are comparable to human babies. Even within the human world, we see humans who prioritize learning about the universe around them very low compared to baser desires. What is it that compels someone to abandon the traditional pursuits of a “normal” person and dedicate himself to the pursuit of science? Once again, the answer lies in religion. Something stirs within us and tells us that we must, of necessity, pursue knowledge, and abandon the mortal trappings of the world around us.

When you ponder the assumptions of science, you see that religion and science are not at odds at all. In fact, science is a subset of religion. It is religion that gave us science, and religion that maintains us.

I see a similar argument that goes something like this. “Religion is illogical. The universe is logical. Therefore, religion is not true.” At best, the conclusion can simply be drawn that “religion is not part of the universe”, not that it isn’t true. After all, when you start with the assumption that something is logical, you can’t use logic to explain why it is so. Religion is, and must ever be, illogical. You can only explain the logical nature of the universe with non-logic, because any logical explanation assumes the conclusion, which thus gives us circular reasoning. (At best, you can only show that logic is logically consistent, nothing more.)

The GOP and Science

April 3, 2012

I can’t speak for all members of the GOP, but I can speak for myself. As for myself, my trust in scientific institutions is at an all-time low, but my trust in legitimate and honest science is at an all-time high.

I know this is hard for many people to understand, but scientists are not gods. They are not even remotely perfect. The best physicists that graced the face of the earth were not much smarter than you or I.

Putting your trust in any scientific institution is insane. The people who run these unions are just as susceptible to corruption as any other institution. That means that they can be influenced by money or prestige to falsify results. That means they will intentionally manipulate the peer-review process to obtain results they think are favorable to their interests. That also means they are likely to engage in conflict among each other, and set their professionalism aside to destroy the careers of the people around them.

Putting your trust in science is wise, as long as your definition of science is the true definition of science. Science is the pursuit of knowledge through the exposition of error. It is based on infallible logic and reason, and has no motives or intent. It is a mute, dumb beast. Scientific advances come over time spans of decades, not weeks, months, or years. New scientific thought is instantly questioned and subjected to an unending series of challenges. Scientists who work in true science do not think that our current understanding of science (which is different than true science) is correct, and are busily engaged in finding out why we are wrong.

Putting your trust into the things scientists say is not a good idea either. The current understanding of science, as you should see above, is not true science. It is wrong in many ways, and in surprising ways. In physics, we do not accept mere theory as fact. We only accept actual observation as fact. Theories seem to be pretty good at explaining why we see the things we see, but none of them are perfect. It is in the discrepancy between observation and theory that physicists spend their time. If you are a physicist, yes, you do have to understand what physicists currently believe is correct science, but you must also simultaneously reject it as incorrect. If you believed current science outright, then there would be no motivation to look for better or more accurate theories.

I know this is hard to accept for many people. You have been told to believe in the Big Bang Theory, in Evolution, in Climate Science, and all of these things, because groups of people with PhD’s after their names and who sit on important-sounding boards and councils say so. That is not science. That is religion. Think about it. The only reason why religion exists is because some man with an important title such as Prophet or Apostle or Priest said you should believe something.

Instead, you should treat every scientific article and discovery with deep skepticism. Until you can follow the logic and explain every step with solid, unshakable reasoning, you should treat it the same way you would treat your horoscope. And even then, you should be looking for where your logic and reason went wrong, and be actively pursuing every shred of evidence that seems to contradict any part of your reasoning.

Do me a favor. If you encounter a scientist that asks you, the non-scientist, to simply trust them, in particular with matters conce, can you do me a favor and treat them the same way you would treat a con-man?

Why I Believe in Creationism

February 13, 2012

I’ve taken some time to once again, research the broad topic of evolution. I’ve, once again, confirmed my belief that it is incorrect, and that the best explanation is found in Genesis for how we got to where we are today.

Evolution is really three topics wrapped up in most people’s minds.

  1. Micro-evolution, or rather, diversity within populations.
  2. Macro-evolution, or apes-to-humans evolution.
  3. Abiogenesis, or life from nothing.

These are listed in their easiness to convince people.

Micro-evolution is something everyone understands. If you have a bunch of redheads living in a town, and they intermarry, then you’ll have even more redheads, and so on. We see this among the animals, plants, and humans across the world. In fact, It’s obviously explained in the biblical passages. People who belong in one branch of the human family are more similar to their branch than other branches.

Micro-evolution depends on the following ideas, all of which are obviously true, and I don’t know anyone that doubts:

  1. Children inherit traits from their parents, whether it is animals, plants, or humans.
  2. Sometimes, children are mutants—that is, they have inherited corrupted traits from their parents.
  3. Traits which favor reproductive viability among a population, over time, become over-expressed. Traits which do not favor reproductive viability tend to diminish.
  4. Occasionally, mutations will become common among a population due to 2 and 3 combined.

We know all of this simply by looking at dogs. Purebred dogs are bred in a particular way to keep the offspring as close to the ideal animal as possible. Some of the offspring simply don’t represent a large enough set of traits, and are eliminated from the gene pool. Others demonstrate very positive traits and are kept for breeding.

What has happened over time is the dogs have been passing around mutations. We know that purebreds are generally dumber than mutts, and the reason is rather obvious. In emphasizing certain traits, other traits fall to the wayside because they are not important. Add in random mutations, and we have purebred varieties that are all but facing extinction because they are so weak.

One of the reasons I believe America is doing so well is because of our genetic diversity. We have people breeding with each other in our country from places all over the earth. We are the ultimate mutt-race, and that means we are breeding based mostly on reproductive viability, which makes us a more reproductive nation.

Macro-evolution is where evolution “jumps the shark.” The thought is that micro-evolution is the only explanation we need for why we have the variety of animals and plants on the earth. The problem with this is really fundamental, and I think a healthy understanding of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics will mean you can see why it’s nonsense.

In thermodynamics, you have tiny particles that move randomly about. While you can’t predict what any one particle is going to do at any one moment, you do know the net behavior of all the particles acting in total. One of the most noteworthy conclusions is that over time, things become more and more disorganized. That is, you start off with everything in perfect order, and then over time, you get garbage. In thermodynamics, you lose energy to entropy, and it can never, ever be reclaimed. Thus, the talk about the heat-death of the universe.

What evolutionist must explain is why random variations in the genetic code (mutations) would ever lead to an advantage over a pure, unadulterated copy of the genetic code. That is, how is it possible that you can get a more-ordered thing from a less-ordered thing? The argument evolutionists use is “survival of the fittest”, among other things. To be honest, I don’t buy it. I mean, maybe, with some random, chance occurrence, a mutation occurs that actually doesn’t lead to some negative consequence. And then, by a remarkable stroke of luck, it turns out that the mutation is exactly what is needed to improve the reproductive viability of the subject, and it gets introduced into the population and it dominates. What you’re asking for is such an improbable event, that if we ever found it happening in nature, we would need to immediately stop the presses and talk about how such a fascinating improbable event as that happened.

Now, evolutionists wave their hands, and say, “But we have millions—BILLIONS—of years to work with!” Well, let’s do the math. The chance of getting a positive mutation, a mutation that would survive, is, let’s say, one in a billion. (I’m being extremely generous here.) If you have a million animals, then at best, you get one positive change every thousand years. Divide a billion by a thousand, and you have a million. So, from the beginning of life on earth, I’m supposed to believe that we’ve had about a million positive changes that lead to all the creatures we see around us? Keep in mind, I’m being very generous with the estimate of 1-in-a-billion chance. If we used something I’m more comfortable with, then the number of times we’d see a positive change can probably be counted by a 1st Grader.

Billions of years are not enough. You need trillions, quadrillions, numbers so large that it truly becomes ridiculous. Keep in mind, that in the age when the age of the earth was introduced as billions of years, people though it was only 6,000 years old. To them, 6,000 years was enough for the entire fossil record to be generated, so saying billions of years meant anything was possible.

If you’re going to run with billions, then the chance of a positive mutation occurring would need to be much, much higher. I think someone said that there are about a million differences between apes and humans. Well, if that’s the case, then we’re talking about maybe trillions of changes globally since the beginning of time. (Keep in mind, not every change lasted. The variety of living things alive today are a fraction of what used to be alive.) So, in billion years, you need trillions of changes, meaning every year you have 1,000+ positive changes. Certainly, in the time that the concept of evolution was introduced, we could have captured a tiny number of these changes, and we should have a library full of them. At the very least, we should have hard evidence on 100+ positive mutations.

But we don’t. We have what may be three or four, and even then, it’s not really apparent that it’s significant.

But that’s not the end of it, or rather, even the beginning. You need to show that, over time, everything ends up as a net positive. After all, over time, creatures grew more complicated, right? I don’t think the mathematics behind the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics will agree with that, even with “survival of the fittest”. I don’t hear evolutionists explaining why they don’t have to solve the same equations I had to when I proved that heat always flows from hot to cold (without energy inputted.)

I believe that over time, our genetic quality is decreasing. Eventually, without any outside force, the entire planet will become extinct, because not enough creatures are reproductively viable anymore. That’s certainly what the fossil record says. The earth used to be full of diversity. What we have today is a comparative desert.

With point 2 under such heavy doubt, and with such an insurmountable mountain to climb, I think evolution is beat. But it gets better.

See, what you need is a beginning: a first life, so to speak. And you need it to have, at minimum, certain characteristics so that evolution is even possible (forget the probabilities.)  Where did this come from? We are told that primordial goo was the origin of life on earth. No one dare say how exactly this would have happened. But let’s suppose that someone works out an exact model that could describe the possibility of chemicals coming together in a particular arrangement, even in the most favorable circumstances. Here’s the rub: I bet that the actual probability of the events that need to happen at the same time, actually happening at the same time, are astronomically small. So small that a billion universes with trillions of earths exactly like ours would never see it happen in a quadrillion years.

In other words, it not only didn’t happen, it could never happen.

I think the appeal to evolution is done without any sound ideas of what the general probabilities or time frames are. There is a curious lack of any numbers, any logical reasoning beyond, “Things COULD HAVE occurred this way.” That’s fun and interesting, but it doesn’t do anything to tell us what actually happened. Using the Anthropic Principle (no matter how unlikely the events are that give rise to intelligent life, since only intelligent life could have comprehended them, then they must have happened to intelligent life) you can prove any possibility, so it’s garbage.

One thing that grates me is evolutionists who bring up falsifiability. That is, that any good theory will open itself up to contradiction by observed reality. Well, the original theory of evolution was falsified. It’s garbage, a historical footnote to the annals of bad science. What you have today is something that resembles the original theory in name only. It doesn’t even give a good rule of thumb, since hardly anything we see in nature agrees with its ideas. The rare, rare, cases that seem to agree with it are so few and far between, the fact that they are so hard to find is a testament to how wrong it all is. But that doesn’t stop the dedicated evolutionist. No, it’s not the theory that’s wrong, it’s reality.

Evolution is right up there with Global Warming, or any number of sciences that people really, really wished were true but simply aren’t and never can be. It’s a scam, it’s a fad, it’s outright war against logic and reason and observation and reproducibility of results. It’s worse than ignorance. It’s the polar opposite of science. It actually makes people more stupid than they were to begin with. It’s the kind of thinking that if we allow to persist, we’ll be right back to worshiping dumb idols the way our ancestors did.

But showing why one theory is wrong isn’t the same as showing why my theory is right.

Why do I believe in Creationism? Note the key word here: “believe”. I believe in Creation because I trust God more than I do myself and my five senses and my reasoning. He’s proven himself to me everytime I’ve had an opportunity to test him. I have confidence that when he says, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” he knows what he’s talking about. To me, science is a pursuit to understand God, not to live independent of him. That’s why I love physics. We actually go out there, measure reality, and then point out how stupid we all are and how foolish we have been since the beginning of time. It’s the ultimate humbling experience to have a philosophical discussion with a physicist who has hard evidence, complete with verified probabilities, showing you why your perception of reality is not only wrong, but a menace to society, and why you are an idiot and will be forever.

That’s what science should be: the ultimate pursuit of truth through debilitating humility.

A Fundamental Misunderstanding in the Greenhouse Effect

December 21, 2011

I’ve been searching the past few days for something, anything, that would hint at why people ignore basic thermodynamics in favor of the more complicated radiation models. I think I have finally stumbled upon it.

See, in space, a good way to determine how hot something is is to look at its radiation output. This spectrum can give you a sense of the total power output of the object, as well as its temperature.

In a simple model we can consider the earth in space as an object where the sunlight incident on the earth is either reflected or absorbed. If absorbed, we can assume radiative balance. However, you have to measure the complete spectrum of both the incident sunlight and the earth’s emissions. The two should balance because energy in should equal energy out (unless there is a source or a sink of energy in the earth.)

Of course, this isn’t precisely accurate. Some of the energy could go to plastic deformations of the planet, or a change in the chemical properties of the planet, such as melting or freezing snow. Some of the energy could be leaked to outer space through evaporation. Some of the energy could manifest itself in the changing magnetic field, or a change in velocity or position. There are an infinite number of ways the earth could hide energy from radiation detectors. Assuming earth doesn’t, or doesn’t do it very much, is why we can use radiation balance as a rule of thumb in the first place.

And this is where climatologists go wrong. They forget that this is only a rule of thumb that is useful when you have vast vacuums between the two objects. Climatologists stretch the above simple model into a complicated model of the earth and the layers of atmosphere between them. Then they have to pretend that the layers of atmosphere can only interact through radiation. Of course, this is completely wrong; the layers of atmosphere interact with each other through convection and conduction and mass transfer. In addition, the ground interacts with the air through conduction.

Trying to map all of these interactions is nigh impossible. I know a lot of people have done tremendous work to try and figure out how much radiation goes where, and things like that. Some people even seem to have answers that seem to match what we see in nature.

Of course, in thermodynamics, the type of interaction is irrelevant. You can just measure how well the material transfers heat (via all heat transfer methods), and then have the number you were looking for all along.

I propose this simple experiment: Measure the heat conductivity of air and air with CO2 doubled or even trebled. If you think radiation is so important, then control for that, or use a really big room, or a long tube. The numbers you measure under controlled circumstances in a laboratory will give you much greater precision than anything you can measure in the wild. Show me how different air and air with more CO2 behaves, then we can start a discussion. As far as I can tell, no one has performed an experiment like that that shows the Greenhouse Effect. In fact, all measurements point to “NO.” Theory and measurements are in agreement here: there is no measurable Greenhouse Effect.

Tyndall and others did measure how radiation and various gasses interact, which is supremely interesting. But he had to isolate every other heat transfer method before making his measurements, because the interactions were nigh undetectable otherwise. Thus, his work is irrelevant in determining how well CO2 conducts heat from the surface of the earth. If anything, it is testimony to how irrelevant considering the radiation alone is.

Climate Science has a long way to go before clearing the bar that would cause me to give up my “addiction” to oil or skepticism towards climate science. It’s not an impossible road to travel, but involves scientific integrity, something which simply does not exist in the climate sciences. It has been revealed far too many times that the actors involved are not acting with any sort of scientific integrity. The fact that they do not release the data they are using is a sign that something has gone horribly, horribly wrong.

Unlike climate scientists, I don’t shift the goalposts every time something new is found. I simply want scientific integrity, accuracy, and sound logic and reasoning.